Now that the comment period is over for controversial proposed changes to Michigan’s K-12 Social Studies standards, educators can apply to join a task force that will review public feedback and make recommendations.
The deadline to apply for the task force is noon on Wednesday.
Task force members will review feedback submitted through an online survey and at public hearings across the state since May. The task force will be charged with proposing standards that are “fewer, clearer, and higher” to provide educators with better guidance.
Earlier recommendations pushed by conservative Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) sparked criticism and heightened public interest in the debate over what children should learn about history and human society from kindergarten through high school.
Among those controversial proposals: references were cut to the Ku Klux Klan, NAACP, LGBTQ rights and climate change. The word “democratic” was removed from the phrase “core democratic values” in every reference throughout the standards in an attempt to be more “politically neutral,” according to Colbeck, who lost his primary bid for governor.
In case you missed it, MEA submitted its formal feedback to the state last week.
The public comment period was initially set to end on June 30, but public criticism prompted an extension through Sept. 30. An official with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) told Bridge Magazine the concerns expressed at hearings were consistent over time and across the state.
The magazine quoted an assistant professor from Oakland University as typifying public comments at one meeting: “These standards need to be rejected and rewritten by people who appreciate democracy,” said Anthony Tuf Francis.
The Social Studies Taskforce will be comprised of six subcommittees: K-4 standards, 5th/8th/ High School United States History & Geography, 6th/7th/High School World History & Geography, Economics, Civics/Core Values, and a Bias Review team. Each subcommittee will be chaired by two of the original social studies standards authors to maintain continuity in the process.
Criteria for selection includes educational background, teaching experience, ethnic/cultural diversity, and geographic diversity. In addition to educators, school administrators and academicians, membership will include students, teachers, parents, and community members.
The Taskforce will hold an organizational meeting on Oct. 15 in Lansing. The final meeting of the Taskforce will be held December 19, 2018 in Lansing. Up to three additional meetings will be held between those dates to complete the work.
Those interested in serving on the Taskforce are asked to submit an online application, including a one-page summary of their resume/Curriculum Vitae, no later than noon on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.
NOTE: MEA is asking members who apply for the task force to let us know, so we can communicate important information as needed. After you apply, email MEA Voice Editor Brenda Ortega at BOrtega@mea.org.